I was going through some drama that had myself and my son stressed, so I figured we needed to get away in order to recharge our batteries. After a little web surfing, I came across the Cartoon Network Hotel. The price was right and at only a 90-minute drive, I booked a 3 day, 2 night stay for my family of 4. My mom and my godsister also joined us. After spending 3 days at this Hotel I figured I’d share my experience. I’ll give you the good, the bad, and hmmm.
The rooms are very comfortable and spacious. The one we chose was the Adventure Time room. There are also other choices like the Powerpuff Girls, We Bare Bears, Gumball, and Ben 10. The hotel also offers luxury suites themed after Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Powerpuff Girls, and Ben 10.
We stayed in a room with one queen bed and bunk beds, all of which were very comfortable. The room was very clean, came with a fridge, three TVs, a Keurig, and Wi-Fi. The bathroom was themed as well and stocked with body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. My family enjoyed how much the room felt cozy and like home. We all agreed we had the best sleep we’d had in a while.
The Bearista Cafe the best thing about the hotel! It felt the truest to the adorable cartoon and absolutely everything is delicious! Each bear had its own signature drink and there were macarons that look like the three bears. Almost too cute to eat but they are scrumptious. The Bearista Cafe is on par with a certain big chain coffee shop. There was a line for the cafe before it even opened. They also sell other snacks and breakfast items.
If Cartoon Network is smart, they’ll franchise this because the theme is cute and the stuff is actually good.
The Cartoon Network Store
Part of a good vacation is the shopping. The Cartoon Network Store located in the hotel is your one-stop shop for merchandise! The store sold everything from plushies, shirts, hoodies, mugs, magnets, socks, and lots more. It was a bit overwhelming seeing all the choices. My wallet shivered in fear. I appreciated that the items in the store weren’t just for younger fans but also included items for older fans, pets, and babies.
My family and I found ourselves in the store more than once during the trip and found souvenirs for those who couldn’t join us.
The Cartoon Kitchen
The Cartoon Kitchen is the hotel’s main dining area. They serve a variety of classic American food with “cartoon” names, for breakfast and dinner. The restaurant has themed “pods” that you can reserve that include TVs so you can watch cartoons while you eat. There is a large screen showing the characters interact with each other as they prepare your meal. That part is executed well and will entertain the biggest of kids. However, the food is subpar and can best be described as upscale cafeteria food.
Everything lacked flavor and salt. I do appreciate that the menu has vegan and gluten-free options. After one very expensive meal at the Cartoon Kitchen, we decided to eat at surrounding restaurants near the hotel. I recommend just getting up early to get a bite at the Bearista Cafe and then having your other meals elsewhere.
The Ben 10 arcade, Omnicade, is a major disappointment. It’s roughly the size of a hotel room with very few games. The Omnicade mostly features crane-style games and games where you try to win tickets. There are 2 VR games but those are separate from the arcade and have their own cost. In a Covid-19 world, such a small space made it difficult to socially distance. There are also games with tickets but I didn’t see a prize exchange.
If there is something you really want from a crane game, you can simply buy it at the store. I was very puzzled by the decision for a small arcade. My family and I never played there once and I didn’t see many other families use it either.
If you are looking to book a stay at the Cartoon Network Hotel, you may want to avoid going on a weekday. Yes, you will save money on your room. Who doesn’t love saving money? You also avoid more guests when you stay on a weekday. However, many of the activities like the outdoor movies, campfire smores, and scavenger hunts only happen on weekends, and the menus for the Cartoon Kitchen are reduced in size during weekdays, leaving you with a handful of options. Not all of them good.
If you are looking just to be able to relax in the pool and sleep in a comfy bed, then a weekday is perfect for you. Also, there are children on the Autism spectrum who do not do well with lots of people around, so a weekday may be ideal for them! But there isn’t much to keep them entertained during a weekday trip. Most guests will want to be able to do things even if it’s not a weekend. The Land of P’oool’s concession stand is closed during weekdays. Going on a weekday saves you money and offers a quieter experience. But if that is all you want, there are cheaper hotels for that, or you can drive 30 minutes more to The Kalahari Resort, an indoor waterpark in the Poconos.
The Land of P’oool
Perhaps the biggest draw for the Cartoon Network Hotel is the Land of P’oool! This includes an outdoor pool with a slide, a hot tub, a sprinkler zone, and an indoor pool. The one slide is actually fun and the hot tub was relaxing. However, since I went on a weekday, there weren’t many guests. The pool was still dirty though; there were bugs, leaves, dirt, and other objects in the pool. No one seemed too concerned about cleaning it at all. The lifeguards watched as a few kids screamed about bugs being in the water, and a guest took a leaf out of her mouth. Was this because of lack of staff, or because it’s a weekday and cleaning is more of a priority on weekends?
Also, there is nothing about the pool that really screams “Adventure Time,” there are a few penguins on the side of the pool and Finn is on the concession stand but that’s it. The Powerpuff Girls sprinkler seems out of place when it’s the Land of P’oool.
No Old School Cartoons
Cartoon Network has been around for generations! As a multigenerational family on this trip, we were hoping to see some cartoons from everyone’s childhood. The hotel mostly sticks to recent cartoons with the exception of the Powerpuff Girls. What is more surprising is that the hotel doesn’t feature the network’s most popular show: Teen Titans: GO! The series aired on the network for many hours of the day, so why is there nothing dedicated to them? No suite, no food, no merchandise, no Titans! I’m not a fan of the show myself but you know who is: millions of kids everywhere!
Overall, my family and I enjoyed ourselves. What we were looking for was relaxation after dealing with its evil counterpart, chaos. We were able to get good sleep, bond in the Bearista Cafe, and do some shopping at the nearby Tanger Outlets. I recommend this place if you want to get away from city life and enjoy simplicity. If you are looking for an experience that will keep you busy every day, then I suggest booking a weekend stay or heading to nearby Hershey Park. I would go again but for a weekend or when I just want peace and quiet.
I give the Cartoon Network Hotel 3 out of 5 Stars. It has a cute and relaxing charm but not enough to make it your one-stop/all-inclusive experience that an indoor resort like Great Wolf would give you.
What do you think? Will you be booking your next getaway at the Cartoon Network Hotel? Have you already been? Share your opinions with us in the comments and online.